But the most basic things that I know about carbon dioxide is that it reacts with H20 to form Carbonic acid (H2CO3), causing our oceans to acidify. In biology we learned how important it is to get the right pH (The number of free H+ and OH- molecules present in a solution) right to allow enzymes to work. Hydrogen bonds make up the basic structures of biology. If the ocean is to acidic and has too many free H+ atoms roaming the seas phytoplankton cannot form calcium shells with enzymes. The basic food web of our entire ocean is based upon these small phytoplankton.
Phytoplankton also create in their metabolic cycles, Sulfate Aerosols - (SO4) these aerosols act as cloud condensation nuclei. Water vapor and clouds by far have the most impact on our climate than any other greenhouse gas. The albedo effect of clouds acts to cool our planet significantly, in fact,as a geo-engineering project, scientists proposed releasing cloud creating vessels onto the oceans to help cool us off. [image-1]
So what effect does more carbon dioxide have on our oceans? Theoretically, as the acidity rises, phytoplankton die off, the result of which means a larger albedo effect in the oceans causing sea temperatures to rise significantly.
Every day that I hear about denial of climate change, or denial that human beings could have serious effects on the planet, is another day I wonder if what we need most is a big slap in the head. Unfortunately for us humans, it won't probably happen until we hit some sort of tipping point, where no matter what changes in lifestyle we undertake we just can't change the things we've inadvertently set in motion.
Earth is a system. When you push a system away from homeostasis it reacts oppositely in violent ways. Take Typhoon Ketsana for example: In less than 24 hours, 18 inches of rain fell on the Philippines creating $785 million dollars worth of damage. This typhoon is on the opposite side of the world but gives a clear indication of the strengthening of our weather systems. I want to remind the readers that we are in an El Niño cycle, causing warmer ocean temperatures in the Pacific. This has an inverse effect causing differing climate phenomena all across the world. Likewise, we are finding ourselves in the waning solar cycle where the sun's radiation is at it's lowest. For the next few years, we will be entering a new solar cycle where more sunspots will be formed on the Sun. This creates more solar radiation causing the climate to change on the Earth.
I love science and hold by it as my guiding light to the reality of the world. We each live in our own subjective universes where our emotions and thoughts hold weight. Science is objective and utilizes facts and data to get a clear concise view point of the world as it is. While carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, its not the most important one. We don't yet know everything, but what we do know for a fact, is that more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is a bad thing. It causes climate change as well as acidifies our seas. Tipping points could arise and cause our perfectly balanced ecosystem into total disarray.
As with my previous post about cap and trade, we need to be mindful of who is tending the store in Washington D.C. Is science biased? Yes, personalities and egos get in the way. The reality is also that those egos and personalities are kept in check by a method called peer review. Thousands upon thousands of scientists study the data that is acquired and test it.
I hold it in my heart that a life more based upon love of not only my fellow human beings, but of my planet will save our country and our collective futures. What we deserve to hear right now most is a moral authority saying the opposite of what we want to hear. We as Americans cannot continue indefinitely this way of living we have seen as a dream for too long. This dream has been unraveling for some time now and the symptoms of our exponential growth are peak oil and climate change. Too many are still in disillusionment thinking unclearly that, just because things are a certain way, they will forever remain that way.
Climategate was a way of trying to expose some sort of conspiracy that hampered this American way of life. The objective reality of the situation is that we are committing collective suicide. We are taking a course of action into uncharted territories of humankind and bringing 7 billion people along for the ride. Climate change and peak oil won't destroy humanity, but it will make us all the wiser when we eventually re-establish ourselves in later generations. There are limits to our growth that no amount of growth denial or conspiracy theories can undo.
The Climategate scandal has been a hot topic recently, even more so because of the current UN Climate Summit occuring in Copenhagen. I'd like to take on this particular issue because, for the most part, my posts have been about sustainable living and peak oil. (Below is a fantastic video that debunks the scandal, by the way.)
I'm presently enrolled in chemistry and biology classes and know the basics of science. The most basic part of science is about asking questions and critical thinking. I've researched climate change and feel that there is far more to it than just carbon dioxide. Methane (CH4), for example, is a far stronger greenhouse gas yet you rarely hear talks about reducing the number of cows we eat each year due their flatulence. A 'cap and trade' for cow farts anyone?